Weekly World of Migration (September 1-7)

migration

The Weekly World of Migration is a weekly collection of articles, reports, and announcements related to migration and displacement around the world. We aim to present articles covering important current events alongside coverage of lesser known migration phenomena in order to provide a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in migration studies. Any views or opinions in the links below belong to their authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bosphorus Migration Studies.

 

Europe

10 days after rescue, Italy lets all migrants leave ship

After 10 days of refusing to let a group of 137 mostly Eritrean migrants debark the Italian coastguard ship that rescued them, the Italian government finally acquiesced to allowing the men off the ship. However, Italy’s prime minister said that the EU could face economic reprisals from Italy for not taking in enough of the migrants. The only EU country that agreed to resettle some of the Diciotti’s passengers was Ireland, who agreed to take in 20 of them. Albania agreed to take in 20 more, while Catholic parishes in Italy said they would make arrangements to care for around 100.

The “Shift” to the Western Mediterranean Migration Route: Myth or Reality?

Compared to 2017, there has been a three-fold increase of migrant arrivals to Spain via the Western Mediterranean route in the first seven months of 2018. This corresponds with an 81% decrease in sea arrivals to Italy via the Central Mediterranean route. However, the Mixed Migration Center says that there has only been a ‘shift’ in routes for certain migrant groups, namely West Africans and Moroccans. The MMC also reiterates the fact that any recent policies by North African governments to curb irregular migration, and any resulting shifts in migrant flows from these countries, are directly tied to the EU’s policies of externalizing migration control.

George Soros-founded university in Hungary pulls programs for refugees

The implementation of a 25% tax on “all programs, actions and activities which directly or indirectly aim to promote immigration” in Hungary has forced the Central European University to suspend its Open Learning Initiative program for asylum seekers and refugees.

Germany recognizes more foreign qualifications

Germany has recognized 14% more foreign professional qualifications in 2017 than in the previous year, for a total of 21,800. The majority of these were in health professions, with requests for recognition coming most frequently from Syrians, Bosnians, and Serbians.

Migrants mobilise voters ahead of Swedish elections

The Rosengard quarter of Malmo, known for its large immigrant population alongside being infamous for high crime rates, has a voter turnout of 54%, in contrast to 90% for the city as a whole. To help solve this problem, Olla Altamimi and Abdularahman Yaseen have started ZigZag, a nonpartisan initiative aimed at improving the quarter’s voter turnout in the upcoming September 9th elections.

Activists held in Greece for illegally aiding migrants

Sara Mardini has been arrested in Greece alongside 2 other ECRI activists who are accused of “facilitating the illegal entry of foreigners”.  Mardini is the older sister of swimmer Yusra Mardini who competed as part of the Olympic Refugee team; the two of them helped pull their dinghy, along with its 18 other passengers, to safety after it capsized in the Mediterranean.

United Kingdom

Windrush scandal: boxer trapped in Jamaica for 13 years allowed back to UK 

Despite having lived in the UK since the age of six, Vernon Vanriel was refused entry when he wished to return from a trip to Jamaica. After 13 years, the government says he will be allowed to return, but his health and economic situation have deteriorated to the point where he is unsure whether he can afford a ticket.

Windrush: Home Office offered bonuses to private firm that detained and removed citizens

The Home Office is accused of offering 2.5% bonuses to the firm Capita, which was contracted to remove those who had been refused leave to remain in the UK, if it exceeded a target for removals from the UK, and a bonus of 12.5%  if the total number of removals exceeded the target by 10%.

Number of people granted asylum in UK plummets by 26% in a year

The number of asylum grants in the UK has dropped by 26% in 2018. Campaigners say that unrealistic burdens of proof for asylum applicants, such as evidence documenting sexual assault, are behind the decline.

Turkey

Turkey’s lira crisis: How it’s hurting vulnerable Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees are amongst the hardest hit by the lira crisis, owing to the fact that many of them work irregularly. Alongside a lack of social security, employers have no incentive to raise their wages to make up for the fall in currency. As Syrians’ purchasing power decreases, many may opt to return home. Economists say it is unlikely that the government will pass any measures aimed at forcing employers to provide Syrians with social security or higher wages, as any efforts will be focused on aiding local businesses first.

Şehir Hepimizin (87): Ulaş Sunata ile Suriyeli mültecilerin kente uyumu

A video presentation hosting migration expert Dr. Ulaş Sunata for discussing the integration of Syrian migrants in cities. She speaks on the rise of “temporary protection” statuses in both Turkey and the rest of the world, saying that while people under these kinds of statuses are not legally refugees, they are in every other sense of the term; her project aimed at improving Syrian’s access to higher education; and how other countries can learn from Turkey’s unique experience in taking in over 3 million Syrians in a short period of time.

Mahallede çadır park

A group of Afghans, including young children, who had came to Ankara to apply for asylum with the UNHCR’s implementing partner in Turkey (the SGDD), found themselves camping out in a park for eight days due to the office being closed for the Eid holidays. An SGDD officer released a statement saying that a sign had been posted on the door to notify people that the office would be closed, and that they were unable to take any further measures.

Middle East  & North Africa

Afghan rock band struggles to hit right note in Iran

A profile of Arikayn, a Tehran-based rock band. Three of its four members are children of Afghan refugees, while one is a refugee who came when he was a child. They recount the difficulty of getting gigs as a rock band made of immigrants with a female guitarist/vocalist and their joy at playing a concert to a crowd of 2000 in front of the ruins of the Bamyan Buddhas. The article also points out the disastrous effects of American sanctions on Iran, which have caused thousands of Iran’s 3 million Afghan refugees to leave the country due to increasingly severe economic hardship. This includes Arikayn’s drummer, who fled to Italy this year.

Libya will not accept the return of illegal migrants rescued at sea

In a statement that seemed to be directed at Italy, the foreign minister of the Tripoli-based Presidency Council has said that Libya will not accept migrants who are sent back from being rescued at sea. The statement in full reads: ‘‘Libya does not accept this unjust and illegitimate measure. We have more than 700, 000 immigrants. But they must be returned to the countries of origin from which they came” .

Will Migrant Domestic Workers in the Gulf Ever Be Safe From Abuse?

There are approximately 3.77 million domestic workers in the Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia hosting the most, at around 2.4 million. While domestic work abroad can be a means of financial empowerment for some women fleeing from poverty or conflict at home, they must weigh this against the risks of being exploited and abused. Employers regularly subject domestic workers to physical abuse, excessive hours and withheld wages, and under the kafala system, workers are bound to the family that arranged their visa, leaving them unable to change employers. Major sending countries, such as the Philippines and Nepal, have used various measures to combat this problem, such as voluntary return schemes, pressure for reforms, and temporary or permanent bans on working in the Gulf. Gulf governments have also began to slowly roll out reforms, while the UAE being the most comprehensive in this regard.

Americas

A Mother Says Her 19-Month-Old Daughter Died After Being Held by ICE. Now She’s Suing for Millions

Yazmin Juarez has filed a wrongful death suit for 40 million dollars after her 19-month old daughter Mariee died of a severe respiratory infection due to medical neglect while they were being held in ICE custody. After crossing into Texas in order to seek asylum, the two were apprehended by ICE and detained in South Texas Family Residential Center. They were then placed in a room with five other mothers with children, several of whom were ill. Several pediatricians have released statements saying that ICE does not provide sufficient medical care in its facilities; in the case of Mariee, ICE neither sought emergency treatment nor administered intravenous antibiotics that may have saved her life.

Venezuelan migrants rush to Peru ahead of passport deadline

Venezuelan migrants hurried to get into Peru after it announced that it would only accept those who were carrying passports, which only around half of Venezuelans possess. Around 2,500 Venezuelans are entering Peru a day, owing to the ongoing recession in the country. Despite implementing stricter border controls, the Peruvian government insists there will be no closing of the border.

When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers

In 1965, the US Secretary of Labor came up with a plan to recruit 20,000 high schoolers to replace Mexican farmworkers recruited under the Bracero Program, which was ended in 1964 amidst complaints of bad working conditions and wage theft. The program was dubbed A-TEAM (Athletes in Temporary Employment as Agricultural Manpower), and was targeted at high school athletes. Out of the 18,100 who were recruited, only around 3,100 ended up actually picking crops. After a series of strikes and walkouts owing to the low wage, dilapidated housing, and backbreaking work, the program was considered an absolute failure and canceled. However, researcher Lori Flores says this episode carries important lessons for today: “”These [high school students] had the words and whiteness to say what they were feeling and could act out in a way that Mexican-Americans who had been living this way for decades simply didn’t have the power or space for the American public to listen to them”

Australia

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Offers to Resettle Australia’s Refugees — Again

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has offered to resettle 150 asylum seekers detained by Australia in off-shore camps, an offer she already made last year. Although Australia refused her offer last year, it has not yet responded to this year’s offer.

Begging to die’: succession of critically ill children moved off Nauru

The conditions for asylum seekers on Nauru are so psychologically damaging that large numbers of children on the island are suffering from major depression and “resignation syndrome”, causing them to engage in extreme self-harming behaviors. Some have refused all food and water, attempted self-immolation, or engaged in other behaviors that could effectively be described as suicide attempts. Resignation syndrome occurs in particularly high rates amongst asylum seeking children, and is described as a complete withdrawal from life. Courts have succeeded in getting several critically ill children removed from the island, despite attempts by the Australian government to keep them there.

Asia

Malaysia must halt crackdown on undocumented migrants

Caram Asia writes that Malaysia must include its Immigration Department in its new anti-corruption initiative, as there have been numerous reports of fraud in Malaysia’s migrant brokerage system. This system is meant to secure visas for migrant workers but sometimes ends up taking their money without granting the necessary work permits, leaving them vulnerable to deportation.

Rohingya refugees made permanent: A cycle repeated

The camps for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazaar are taking on a permanent nature, with drainage systems and an array of service buildings heralding the likelihood of a protracted period of displacement. Over half of the 1.1 million Rohingya currently in Bangladesh are children.

Reports

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 65,576 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,546

Academia

Local Faith Community Responses to Displacement in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey: Emerging Evidence and New Approaches

Calls

Getting to 2030: The Future of Internal Displacement and Sustainable Development. JID-IDMC Special Issue January 2019.